News

Retired nurses, midwives targeted in ‘return to practice’ campaign

Health Education England shares inspirational stories to attract retirees but union says focus should be on investing in those already in jobs
Picture of Return to Practice campaign poster

Health Education England shares inspirational stories to attract retirees but union says focus should be on investing in those already in jobs

Retired nurses and midwives are being encouraged to return to practice to support the NHS post-pandemic by Health Education England (HEE) .

But a union has said the government needs to ‘invest properly in those already in the jobs’ to ensure the nursing workforce is equipped to tackle the care backlog.

As part of its campaign, HEE will share ‘inspirational’ stories on social media from

Health Education England shares inspirational stories to attract retirees but union says focus should be on investing in those already in jobs

Picture of Return to Practice campaign poster
Return to Practice campaign poster

Retired nurses and midwives are being encouraged to return to practice to support the NHS post-pandemic by Health Education England (HEE).

But a union has said the government needs to ‘invest properly in those already in the jobs’ to ensure the nursing workforce is equipped to tackle the care backlog.

As part of its campaign, HEE will share ‘inspirational’ stories on social media from those who have already returned to work and also offer advice to anyone considering the move.

The campaign quotes a nurse who has returned to practice, Sharon Swords, as saying: ‘I left nursing over 20 years ago, but I always knew I would come back. As soon as I got back onto the ward for my first placement, the buzz I felt was phenomenal. I am so pleased to be back. Nursing is what I do, it’s what I am.’

Routes to return include NMC test of competence or a course through a university or employer

But Unison nursing officer Stuart Tuckwood said poor working conditions were resulting in many nurses leaving the profession. He said: ‘Anyone returning to practice will rightly expect a decent pay rate, reflecting their experience, and proper support.

‘Alongside campaigning for staff to come back, it’s essential the government invests properly in those already in the jobs. High levels of exhaustion and dissatisfaction mean both experienced and newly qualified nurses and midwives are leaving.’

Nurses have three routes to return to the workforce – they can take a return to practice course through a university or an NHS employer, do the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) test of competence, or if they meet the requirements of the NMC they can be readmitted.

The campaign comes after the NMC closed its temporary register to new applicants, which was launched in March 2020 as part of the emergency response to COVID-19.

NHS organisations can access a toolkit to support local return to practice recruitment drives

HEE, which is running the campaign in partnership with commercial radio station Heart radio, said the closure of the temporary register made it more important than ever to encourage more nurses back to work.

Launching the campaign, HEE chief nurse Mark Radford said: ‘Returners bring back valuable expertise to the professions, and we want to enable them to complete the Nursing and Midwifery Council requirements, return to the register and into roles within our clinical services.

‘Some of the processes may have changed and there might be some new technology, but the fundamental qualities of a nurse and midwife remain the same and are just as valuable as ever.’

NHS organisations can access a toolkit to support local return to practice recruitment drives including posters, leaflets and resources for social media.

The campaign follows the widely criticised launch of a drive to recruit ‘an army of NHS reservists’, which the government hopes will create a bank of extra resources to help support hard-pressed health and care services. Unions and nurses have labelled the reservists plan a sticking plaster solution that fails to address staffing shortages.


Find out more

In other news

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Unlock full access to RCNi Plus today

Save over 50% on your first three months:

  • Customisable clinical dashboard featuring 200+ topics
  • Unlimited online access to all 10 RCNi Journals including Nursing Standard
  • RCNi Learning featuring 180+ RCN accredited learning modules
  • NMC-compliant RCNi Portfolio to build evidence for revalidation
  • Personalised newsletters tailored to your interests

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs